Next spring, Denker Culligan of Ionia is going to expand to a second Culligan location and add a heating, cooling and plumbing business at 2531 W. Main.
The company is owned by Russell and Pamela Denker, the third generation of this family business. The fourth generation, Russ Denker IV and Katie Denker, are currently working for the company in Ionia.
"Russ is the third generation, his father and his grandfather started it in the 60s," said Pamela Denker.
"We have been serving Lowell since 1960," said Russ Denker. "My dad and I survived through lots of good times and bad times for almost 60 years as a family business, and the business has grown enough to need a service tech over here. Now, instead of driving 20-25 minutes for every call, we'll be dispatching from right here."
"Russ purchased the company from his dad in 2000 and we added heating, cooling and pluming to the mix in 2006," said Pamela Denker. "It sounds like a cliché, but a customer may have known his father or his grandfather. We really are in it for those long-term relationships."
"I have installed units at homes for families with all these little kids running around," Russ Denker said. "Next thing you know, those little kids are all grown up and calling us, and they've got their own kids. Staying in business this long, you kind of see the families grow, and you grow with them. It's kind of cool."
The old building at the site, most recently the home of Bowne Construction, was demolished in October. A new structure will be built to house Home Experts Heating, Cooling and Plumbing and Denker's Culligan Water of Lowell. The new building is currently in the design phase.
"We live in Ada, but in the Lowell school district," Pamela Denker said. "We are doing more and more business west of us and we just love the town of Lowell. It is within our Culligan franchise territory, so we already do quite a bit of work there, but we didn't feel like we were really part of the community so we wanted to figure out how we could do more in Lowell. We also wanted to do more heating, cooling and plumbing. We realized the best way to do this was to put down some roots. So then began the search for property."
"Everybody we dealt with at the city of Lowell, the water department and Lowell Light & Power were so fabulous," Russ Denker said. "You'd call them and they were there the next day to do what they said they were going to do."
"In May of this year we purchased the old Bowne Construction building on Main, and we just finally demolished it," Pamela Denker said. "The demolition process took way too long. Removing that eyesore of a building was our Christmas gift to the city of Lowell! We are in the middle of finalizing plans of what the new building will look like. We'll start as soon as we can and break ground in the spring. We're hoping to put it up really quickly and be open for business in the spring. Lowell is not that far from Ionia, but it adds up. This just makes a lot more sense to us, especially since we have so many trips for delivery of water and salt for Culligan."
Their precise staffing needs have not yet been determined, but they will eventually require a variety of employees from the Lowell market. The company will perform heating, air conditioning, plumbing, furnace repair, duct cleaning and annual maintenance services in addition to their Culligan water activities.
"We will definitely need to hire once we open, but I don't know how many positions," Pamela Denker said. "We'll see how it goes with promoting from within and hiring new people. We'll know more as we get closer. I know that I'll need a customer service representative, for one, I'm hoping to find some great, talented heating and cooling guys, and at this point, my guess is that we'll also have to hire another driver for deliveries of salt and water. Eventually, we're going to need somebody in sales and possibly some type of operations manager for the area. It's hard to tell right now. It will take us a little bit to figure that out. We might be hiring more than we think. Do you know any plumbers? We're looking for a plumber."
The Denkers live in Ada and the company is based in Ionia, but they said they've had a Lowell phone number "for 40 to 50 years." Their service area encompasses Ada, Alto, Belding, Clarksville, Fenwick, Hubbardston, Ionia, Lake Odessa, Lowell, Lyons, Muir, Mulliken, Orleans, Palo, Pewamo, Portland, Saranac, Smyrna and Sunfield.
"We used to live on Morrison Lake, then we moved to Ada," said Russ Denker. "Our girls go to Ada Christian, but we're actually in the Lowell school district. We see what's going on here and we just can't wait to be a part of the community and everything that's going on here. And we have a lot of friends who live in this area, so we're excited about it."
There is a $25 coupon and more information about the HVAC company and its services on their website, homexperts.us. To learn about their Culligan services and products, visit culligandenkerwaterconditioning.com. To contact them, call 616-897-0008.
"I was taught that anybody can sell any product in the world, but fixing it and servicing customers is what really keeps you in business, so that is really what we focus on," said Russ Denker. "Of course we enjoy selling equipment if that's what the customer needs, but that is not our main goal."